WEDNESDAY’S (December 2) letters page had yet another contribution from a Southampton resident claiming that the council’s problems might be solved if only they would reduce the ‘sky high salaries and generous pension schemes’. This is a common theme, though I doubt if this, or any of the previous contributors who have employed this lazy rhetoric and ‘politics of envy’, could tell you what the salary or pension figures actually are.

I have always worked in the private sector, but I do not understand the mindset that says public sector workers in general, and council workers in particular, should be less well-paid than their private-sector counterparts (and believe me, although they perform vital services for the rest of us, they are often much less well-paid).

Similarly, their pension arrangements could be cut even more severely than they have already been, but this would only lead them, like so many of their private-sector colleagues even allowing for the now compulsory workplace pension schemes, to be in dire straits in retirement. If that happens the taxpayers will, as now, have to provide supplementary benefits such as housing benefit, council tax relief, and so on.

One way or another the taxpayer will pay – as they absolutely should – and my personal preference is for my tax to go in pension contributions rather than, for example, in rent to private landlords.

On the substantive point of the letter, namely that Southampton council should reinstate weekly bin collections, could any Southampton resident explain to me why, so many years after fortnightly collections were introduced in Eastleigh, Romsey and most surrounding areas, these towns are not plagued by rats, maggots and other infestations? If we can all manage, why can’t they?

Siobhan O’Rourke

Netley Abbey